San Antonio police, FBI investigate apparent attempt to bomb downtown public sculpture

The FBI is working with state and local partners to investigate the possible explosion.

click to enlarge Law enforcement personnel stand watch in front of public art that was the target of a bombing attempt. - Sanford Nowlin
Sanford Nowlin
Law enforcement personnel stand watch in front of public art that was the target of a bombing attempt.
Local and federal authorities are investigating what appears to be an attempted bombing of a public sculpture downtown that depicts Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, Texas Public Radio reports.

The sculpture, located near TPR's offices, was targeted with an apparent explosive device around 2:30 a.m Monday, according to a tweet from Joey Palacios, a reporter with the news organization.
TPR security cameras captured footage of a man in a yellow shirt, ski mask and baseball cap walking toward the sculpture then placing what appears to be a pair of paint cans under Lenin's head. Shortly after, the cans exploded, according to TPR's report.

The explosion shook the sculpture and caused some damage to the lower half of Lenin's head. However, the artwork remains structurally sound, TPR reports.

In a statement sent to the radio station, the FBI said personnel are working with state and local partners to investigate the incident. No injuries were reported, the agency also said.

According to TPR, the piece, titled Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin's Head, was created by the Gaos, a pair of Chinese artists who are also brothers. The sculpture features what TPR calls "a small, feminized figure of Mao Tse Tung using a long pole to balance on Vladimir Lenin’s head."

Although the artwork features two high-profile communist figures, it's actually a critique of life under authoritarian rule, according to multiple media reports since it was installed in March.

Even so, the statue next to the San Pedro Creek Culture Park has drawn criticism on social media and from conservative radio talk shows since it appeared downtown.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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